How to Replace a Laptop Fan

By Kim Linton

Limited space and ventilation causes heat to build up very quickly in a laptop. A laptop fan blows hot air generated from the hard drive and other internal components through a vent in the side of the laptop housing. A laptop fan is usually built into a heat sink, which helps keep the CPU or central processing unit cool. If your laptop fan has stopped working, follow these steps to fix it as soon as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Laptop owner's manual
  • Assembly guide
  • New laptop fan
  • Thermal compound
  • Small screwdriver

Step 1

Follow your laptop owner's manual and assembly guide carefully as you disassemble the laptop. Touch something metal periodically to remove static charge, and work on a large table with a bright light source.

Step 2

Turn off the laptop and unplug it. Remove the main battery, CD/DVD drive and the hard drive. The hard drive is usually located in a slot on one side of the laptop. Remove the screw that holds the cover in place, then pull out the hard drive sled.

Step 3

Turn the laptop over and remove the screws on the bottom that hold the keyboard in place. Flip the laptop over, open it, then lift the keyboard up and out. Unplug the flexible ribbon cable that connects the keyboard to the motherboard.

Step 4

Remove the screws that hold the keyboard bezel and palm rest in place. Carefully pry loose any plastic snaps on the sides, then lift the bezel and palm rest up and out.

Step 5

Unplug the laptop fan. Remove the screws that hold the heat sink and fan in place, then remove the entire unit from the laptop. Remove any thermal compound residue from the bottom of the heat sink and the CPU.

Step 6

Apply a thin layer of thermal compound on the CPU, then replace the heat sink and fan. Replace the screws, plug the fan back in, then reassemble the laptop.

Step 7

Plug the laptop in and turn it on. After you use it for a few minutes, you should hear the new fan running and feel warm air blowing from the vent on the side of the laptop. A laptop fan does not run continuously, so don't be concerned if the fan shuts off periodically.

Tips & Warnings

  • Laptop components are very sensitive to cold, heat and jarring. Be careful not to hit, bump or drop any of the components while replacing the fan.
  • Never cover the fan vent when using a laptop. Clothes, blankets and pillows blocking the vent will cause the fan to stop working. If you run your laptop for an extended period of time without a fan, permanent damage may occur.